We're wild about Paul Reiser around these parts (please note we didn't use the cliché “mad” about) and with his return to TV via the FX series “Married” and his upcoming role in “Red Oaks,” we couldn't be more pleased about getting our fix of the legendary comedian. He's also been gracing the stand-up stage as of late and you can catch him this time around at the Irvine Improv for one night only this Thursday, October 1st. Instead of going straight Q&A like the last time we talked to Paul, this time we got random with Reiser to see how he'd fare. Color us schooled because this old school dude had new school skills and he let us have it. Literally and figuratively.
Paul Reiser: You can just cut and paste the article we did last time for this one.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): I appreciate you making less work for me but no such luck. This time I want to give you questions that will make you wonder about my mental stability. We'll call it, “Random with Reiser.”
[Laughs.] Well keep working on the title but yeah, let's see what happens!
Ha!! Touché! OK, how often do you Google yourself? I never Google myself. Whatever's happening I don't need to know. I figure, I know where I'm supposed to be and the other part of it is just crazy people and if I read it I'll get upset because they have the wrong information or something. I find it's a very dangerous double sword thing mostly with performers. You're tempted to look and see what people are saying because you're hoping for nice. The problem is though that where you're hoping for nice, you keep reading nice until you hit bad. Oh this guy is nice, oh this guy is nice, oh this guy wants to kill me. It's better to not even go there. It's like when you pass a Ben N Jerry's you know what's going on in there but it's probably better if you don't.
It's interesting too how negative really tends to go over the top with the “kill yourself” stuff. Truly insane. How long was your longest layover and what did you do while you were waiting? One of my goals is to not have long layovers. Matter of fact, if I can avoid it, I don't even take gigs that have two flights. Layovers can eat up your soul. If I do have one though I will just read the paper or if I'm clever enough to remember to have my iPad charged, I'll watch a movie that I've downloaded badly.
I just had four hour layover a few weeks back because my plane kept getting delayed. Total nightmare. That's what you want to avoid. I never take flying for granted though because I'm always impressed with the miracle that what they say is going to happen can roughly happen. Like when they say they'll get you into Detroit at 2pm and you get there at 2pm it's like, wow! That actually happened! And my bag made it? Really? It's amazing!
I hear ya, it's amazing indeed! What about superstitions? Do you have any?
I don't, no. Should I?
I say no. They can rule your life. Well I'm not very superstitious but I do have a couple of good luck sort of things. They're not superstitions but certain days of the year have traditionally been good so when they come around, I look at them differently. Of course when they come around and nothing happens I think, well maybe it was just those two times then. [Laughs.]
Sounds like a reverse superstition. There should be a name for that. We need to invent a name and copy write it immediately. Yes, we need a word. Positivestition. Or actually the opposite of super is sub so it's a substition. There. We've coined a new phrase.
I like it, let's get paid. Hit me with three of your favorite songs. OK, Junior Walker “Shotgun,” ummm…off the top of my head that's the first one that came to mind. It would be…huh! That's a tough one! I'm gonna say Billy Joel's “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” and probably every Beatles song. I'll say “Ticket to Ride” unless something comes up better.
I'm with you on Billy Joel. I love that man. If you had to spend your last dollar, what would you spend it on? Gun to your head status. [Laughs.] Well the first thing I'd buy would be a gun and put it to my head. What would I buy? That's a very silly question. So tell me this, am I already broke when I'm spending my last dollar?
You're going to die or something and you HAVE to spend it. I would like to think that if I was that far down I would give it to somebody who has a chance. I'd go, “Look, I don't know the rules of the game I signed on for but apparently I'm screwed. Here's seven dollars. You do something.”
Haha that's very sweet! I'd probably spend mine on something stupid like Twizzlers. [Laughs.] I would've spent my previous dollars on that before I went broke. I would've bought all that crap. Sweet potato fries with some dumb tub-sized Coke. That meal would have kicked me into your game where I am ready to die with seven dollars.
So is it safe to say that sweet potato fries would be included in your last meal ever? No, that would not be my last meal because even if I knew I was dying I wouldn't go carbs because I know carbs make me a little puffy. That's an interesting question though because I have many favorite foods but if you really knew it was your last, would you pig out?
I'd go well-rounded with prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, cauliflower, cheesecake, and lemonade. And you? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good sweet potato fry. It would be probably something big, fatty, and meaty. You know, if I knew it was my last meal I'd probably actually order something that takes an enormous amount of preparation. Like Peking duck but from a duck that's not yet born.
Oh my god that's genius! Do you have a nickname? I do but I can't use it here because it's graphic. But let me say this, it is complementary.
Does it involve size? We'll just let the readers guess. [Laughs.] No, I don't have a nickname. Because of all of the mob movies now when someone calls me Paulie, it sounds a lot tougher than it did when I was a kid. Now it's like Paulie Walnuts. It's tough now unlike the Paulie that got a pat on the head and sent into first grade.
What's something you're not very good at but enjoy doing anyway? Acting? [Laughs.] I would say singing. I don't sing well at all and my children ask me to stop as do people on the streets when the car window is open. But I go ahead because that's just the kind of moxie I have.
Hey, you gotta own that! If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be? I wish I was mechanical. Somewhere between eight and fourteen it was never introduced to my brain that here's where the wires go, here's how you handle a drill, and here are the types of screwdrivers. It's not the hardest thing to learn but it just kind of bounced off of me. Now I've realized that I'm old and my sons are growing up equally as ignorant and I wish they had a better father.
Haha so disappointing Paul! I actually like to think the reason I'm not married is because I haven't met a mechanic/handyman to make my life easier. Now just a suggestion here, and I don't want to change your life plans but, maybe just call such a person when you need him? That way you can open up your pool so you can marry someone with different skills. Say like a clarinet player who can fix your clogged sink.
I like where you're going with this. All of the great love songs include a clarinet and a clogged sink. Well since you dropped some great advice on me, tell me the best advice that you've been given. Take a jacket. It's not that big of a deal but if you don't have it, you're going to miss it. And if you don't need it, you just leave it in the car. My kids grew up in California so they don't get the New York thing about taking a jacket in November. Take a jacket. That's what I always say!
You're a Jewish grandmother in the making. Believe me, there's no surprise there. I can't wait to be 80 because I've been practicing so long. I've been 80 since I was about 14.
Be sure to catch Paul Reiser this Thursday (Oct. 1st) at the Irvine Improv, 31 Fortune Drive Irvine, CA 92618, (949) 854-5455. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info on Paul, go to his website www.PaulReiser.com and follow him on Twitter @PaulReiser.
Ali Lerman knows much about comedy, basketball, and celebrating Wu-Tang Wednesday. She’s been writing for fifteen years and still calls her mom with grammatical questions.